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Vidal lobbies for Lyon academic jailed in Turkey

France’s research minister Frédérique Vidal has written to the Turkish government to request the release from custody of Tuna Altinel, a mathematics professor at Lyon 1 University.

Altinel, a Turkish national who has worked at Lyon 1 University since 1996, was arrested on 11 May and is now in jail awaiting the outcome of his trial, which is due to be delivered in July, according to media reports. He was a signatory of a 2016 petition that denounced the Turkish government’s treatment of Turkey’s Kurdish minority population.

Vidal said on Twitter that she had written to her Turkish counterpart—presumably Ziya Selçuk, who was appointed Turkish national education minister in July 2018—to express her “most serious concern for professor Tuna Altinel so that he can soon return to France and his work at Lyon 1 University”. She added: “France will always be profoundly concerned for academic freedom.”

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